How do I start my acting career?
I’ve made my decision, I want to become an actress, I was sure of this for nearly a decade but I don’t know where to start. I can pretty much fake any emotion, cry on cue and what not. But I do think I need more experience. I’ve got a few books, but a bit more wouldn’t hurt. What are some books that would be useful for learning about acting? What skills should I acquire, besides acting. Is Dancing and Singing required, and what other skills would be useful? I’m not in any school plays, because I refuse to sing I don’t mind dancing, it’s not that I’m terrible at it, I just can’t sing in front of people. How do you get parts in commercials, are there skills you need or do you just have to fit the part? I’ve heard that being in school plays, doing theater work, something little like that wouldn’t really stand out on your resume, it’s more of the indie films or commercials that stand out. But, the only problem and what’s stopping me is my location. I live in Rochester NY, there aren’t any real, legit agencies around here, and I don’t believe there are many good acting classes/schools around here. So I plan on moving to NYC, and start there. Or, I can get an agent, and travel to the location, I’d of course have to be paid. If I ever do fulfill this dream, II wouldn’t want to be in a musical, or a movie where there’s a lot of dancing, maybe more of towards action, science fiction, a superhero movie would be fantastic! Like one of those Iron Man movies, or the avengers, I’m a huge fan, but nonetheless, I want to know how to become one, want to know how to start at the very beginning and work my way up and hopefully be one of those big shots, like Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr <3 As long as I get a part in a big, well known movie, I'd be happy. Any advice or tips or anything of that sort that you’d like to share? Thanks.
Wow lots of questions.
How do I start my acting career? – If you’re a minor you start by talking to your parents. Professional acting is a business and if you’re minor, your parents have to be in charge of any professional career you attempt. If you’re an adult, then you start by taking some classes from well respected instructors, get any experience you can, and learn the business end of the industry. That way you can decide if you really want to pursue a professional acting career. The realities of a career are often very different than what people think.
What are some books that would be useful for learning about acting? Bonnie Gillespie’s “Self Management for Actors” to help you start to understand the business end of things. Reading actual plays and scripts is helpful too. Keep an eye out for characters you love and want to develop. Reading about acting techniques in books only gets you so far. Acting is not something you do alone – so classes with other people are much better than books.
What skills should I acquire, besides acting. Is Dancing and Singing required, and what other skills would be useful? – Dancing and singing are not required, but are very useful. They provide more opportunities. Acting is more than just one skill. “Faking any emotion” is not as important as being able to create a character and realistically portray the emotions that character feels. Crying on cue is nothing big (sorry). You need scene study work, to know how to breakdown a script and start to develop a character. Basic acting classes, improvisation, and auditioning skills are helpful too. That you can’t sing in front of people (even though you can sing) indicates that you’re afraid to take risks and go out of your comfort zone, which suggests your acting may be one-dimensional and dull. (I don’t know that for sure, but good actors take risks and challenge themselves rather than just give up because they’re not perfectly comfortable.)
How do you get parts in commercials? Through your talent agents, same for most paid professional work. There are not a lot of open auditions that anyone can just show up at. For most professional work, you have to be invited to audition, usually through a talent agent. Even with low-to-no-pay work like student films, shorts, or independent films you still have to submit your head shot and resume first and if they’re interested, they’ll invite you to audition.
The casting director for the commercial will notify area agents what they’re looking for. Agents will submit their clients (send in the professional headshot and resume and acting reel) and if the CD is interested, they’ll invite the actor for an audition. LIke I said, there’s not a bunch of open auditions. Looks are pretty important for commercial – you have to have a marketable look. But competition is stiff, so just having a look isn’t good enough.
And you can’t just hire an agent. Legitimate agents are paid on commission which means they get paid only if the client actually books the job. So agents are picky about who they take on as clients. They’re looking for clients who are “marketable” and who have demonstrated the talent, training and experience to book professional jobs. Networking is the best way to get an agent. Maybe you can impress an acting teacher, coach, director or other actor enough that they would be willing to refer you to an agent. It would be very challenging to get an agent somewhere you don’t live and then move to where you get an agent – especially if you’re just starting out. And an agent isn’t going to pay you to move to a location.
And we haven’t even touched on the topic of actor unions and marketing yourself and your skills. Basically you have a very naive understanding of what an acting career involves. So again – start by taking some classes, auditioning for what you can (even if it’s a musical) and researching the industry. In addition to the book I mentioned, check out industry trades and websites like backstage.com.
Can you help with some acting tips.?
I am able to act quiet well, however I lack the ability to express sadness or shed tears. Its the only piece I’m missing of my acting ability, I need a way to express sadness and shed tears.
Interesting…Expressing dramatic emotions is something I believe I can do fairly well! 🙂 So in reply to your questions there are a few things you can do to make yourself look/express sadness:
*If one day you find yourself in tears or upset, look in the mirror for a while. Take a photograph. Yhis may sound silly but that way you can capture the emotions in yourself.
*Watch a couple of movies with sad/crying scenes and see how other actors/actresses do it.
*Do online re-search.
It really depends on how dramatic/deep the scene you do is. How long do you cry for? How HARD do you cry? Are you crying? Sobbing, bawling, sniffling/snuffling?
I usually practice things like this in the mirror for fun! 🙂
Anybody have voice acting tips?
Depends on what ‘voice’ refers to.
If yo mean musically:
-Warm Up! I cannot tell you how extremely important it is to warm up. If you don’t have time to do it there, do it on the way. Burn a CD of musical warm ups that you can do in the car. Also, although it is important to go really high,it is also important to go really low. This way, you can really give your voice a thorough warm up. It is important to stretch your voice, but there is a fine line between stretching your voice and straining it. If you are raising your head or going up on tip toe, or tightening your throat, you are stretching too far. Go higher than you think you might, but be careful. Strained vocal chords hurt like the devil!
-Some different warm ups can be done with stretching. While you warm up your voice, bend at the waist, stretch to the ceiling, and flex your muscles. This will help you be louder, and it will help you become more flexible.
-Yell! If it seems too loud, it probably is just about right.
If you mean speaking or musically:
-Enunciate! This means to make sure that when you talk, every syllable can be heard. So if you say “double bubble toil and trouble” you make sure you stress “DouBle BuBBle ToiL and TrouBLe” (capitals are the ones that need enunciation). Some good warm-ups would include saying the ABC’s really fast and moving your mouth a lot as you say them. The more you move your mouth, the faster you can say the alphabet. Another warm-up is “Little Tom Tinker, he sat on a clinker and he began to cry, Ma, Ma, what a poor fellow am I”. This one can also be a musical warm up.
-Yell. If you think it’s loud enough, it’s probably too soft. If you think it’s too loud, it’s probably just about right. This is a great rule of thumb to live by, and I can’t tell you how many times it has happened to me. Many times my director will tell me to be louder, even if I feel like I’ve been screaming already.
-Pretend like the mike doesn’t work. Where I come from (but probably all over) the mikes are WAY crappy. Don’t rely on a mike to help your voice carry. Most directors like it when they have to turn down your mike. Make them turn it down.
Hope I helped!
How to make myself cry?
My character has to cry, and for some reason no matter how hard I try I cannot produce tears. I can work myself up to the point where I’m hysterical and feel physically sick but I cannot for the life of me produce tears. I don’t know whether this is because of my contact lenses making my eyes dry. What should I do??
Helpful/ non-sarcastic answers would be nice..
First, are you acting for a community/professional theater play? If it’s a play, then acting like you’re crying will work just fine. Just act like it, with muffled “sobs” and sniffles. If you’re in a movie though, or something like that, where people are going to see close-ups of your face, that’s where you’ll need to cry for real. I’m assuming that you’re in a play, but if not, think of one of the saddest moments of your life, or imagine something sad happening. Be your character; why is she crying? Put yourself in her position. I hope this helps; I’ve never had to cry on stage before, but these are tips that fellow actors/actresses have used. Good luck, and “break a leg!”
how to act like a holocaust survivor?
i am audtioning for a part in my school’s history department project about the holocaust. The auditions consist of a cold reading acting like a holocaust survivor. any tips on how to really have the emotion shine through? should i add anger? or do you think i should cry? any tips guys?
I agree with the poster who said Jews are great storytellers. I’ve known several holocaust survivors and they rarely cried when talking about their experiences, but when they reached a point in their stories when most of us would break down, they paused and looked like they were struggling with the memory. One woman, in particular, would draw her lips inward as though she was fighting both rage and tears. When she’d composed herself, she resumed her story as though no time had lapsed.
People who lived in concentration camps have survived so much already that they tend to not be weepy and overly emotional like current generations are. They’ve already done most of their grieving, but have to live with the memories and losses every day. If anything, the ones I’ve met have leaned toward stoicism. They’re determined more than they’re emotional. Be animated with your facial expressions, like a good storyteller, but don’t pretend you’re reliving anything because that would probably ring false. When memories are more distant, people find it easier to talk about them without the emotions being right on the surface. But simple gestures like pauses, looking briefly away from the other person to organize your thoughts, or a wistful smile will go a long way in conveying the sort of torture a holocaust survivor endured. The truth is in the details. Good luck with your audition.
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